The approval for the takeover of the gas leak-hit Union Carbide by Dow Chemicals in partnership with Reliance Petrochemicals Ltd was expedited without addressing concerns raised by the ministry of chemicals and fertilisers, according to a report.
According to The Hindu, in a 2007 letter written to the prime minister, industries minister Kamal Nath stated that ''with a view to sending an appropriate signal to Dow Chemicals … and the US business community, I would urge … to look at this matter in a holistic manner (the matter of Dow being liable for clean-up of Bhopal site)''.
Shortly before the 2006 Indo-US chief executive officers' forum, as a result of intense lobbying by Dow chief executive Andrew Liveris, the ministry of commerce and industry approved a project involving Reliance Petrochemical Ltd and Dow Global in spite of apprehensions expressed over it by the ministry of chemicals and fertilisers.
The approval was refused to be reconsidered by the commerce ministry even after the chemicals ministry requested it to do so in the light of the union government's pending writ petition in the Madhya Pradesh high court to hold Dow Chemicals responsible for setting up the site remediation trust for the clean up of the Bhopal gas leak site, the paper reports.
In October 2006, Reliance Petroleum Ltd (RPL) was granted approval for a foreign technology collaboration with Dow Global Technologies, USA from the department of chemicals and petrochemicals in order to set up a polypropylene plant at the Jamnagar Special Economic Zone.
In a ministry of external affairs document, obtained by Bhopal activists under the Right to Information Act, it is mentioned that the foreign technology collaboration approval served to send Dow the right signals.